Menu in Uniform
The city's first “casual military restaurant/bar,” Take Orders, opened New Year's Eve. The place features “battleship floors” and “galvanized steel tables” that would be the envy of our troops in Bosnia. (Question: Will there be a complimentary weapons check at the door?)
In this lovely setting, patrons (fatigues are optional!) can enjoy an international wine list, a selection of microbrews, and bread baked daily at the restaurant.
There will also be “event nights, from Tank Girl and G.I. Joe themes to fashion shows and industry networking,” according to the owners. Dish expects that Halloween will be wild, too.
Proposal: People with dog tags and nipple rings should dine free on that sacred evening.
The respected publisher John Wiley & Sons has just brought out a useful new reference volume called The International Menu Speller.
The book gives the correct spelling — including diacritical marks — of more than 7,500 food-related words in 40 languages. Never again will you embarrass yourself by misspelling “rzodkiewka,” “pebern¯dder,” or (Dish's favorite) “punajuuret appelsiikastikkeesa.” There are also such no-sweaters as “poulard à la vapeur” and “taffy.”
It would be nice if the speller defined these terms as well as spelled them correctly.
It would be even nicer if the publisher had not apparently auctioned off the cover and both front and back flaps to Cervena, the New Zealand purveyor of farmed venison. “If you refer to the inside cover of your customized menu speller,” directs the publisher's letter, “you will see that we have included the Cervena story on the front and back flaps.” (Isn't this double jeopardy?)
“Just as the Champagne appellation immediately conveys the image of quality sparkling wine from France's Epernay region,” continues the missive, “Cervena is an appellation for premium, farmed venison from New Zealand.”
That is a clumsy sentence. Also dishonest. The venerable Champagne appellation does suggest quality, while the Cervena appellation suggests — what? We buy book jackets for use as billboards?
Maybe the city should let Cervena bid to use its name on the Giants' new stadium. Cervena Park? Venison Field? It beats 3Com — and the food would have to be better.
By Paul Reidinger